Help! Introducing new filly to herd. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Help! Introducing new filly to herd.

I have bought a beautiful half arab/half qh filly (8 months old) and she arrived yesterday. I have two other horses, a gelding and a 7 year old mare, who were both born on the farm. The gelding is the top dog and the mare submissive to him. I put the new filliy in the stall next to the mare. In the morning I noticed the mare glaring and lying her ears back at the baby, so I decided to see how the baby did out in the pasture with the gelding first. They got along beautifully, the gelding is very nice to the filly. This weanling in a new home and so young is very submissive.

When I decided to try and turn the mare out, she charged at the filly, chased it around the pasture in a hetic, frantic, fury...trying to attack the filly. She even chased the filly into a stall and tried to attack it. Fortunately the filly escaped and I managed to shut the door and keep the mare in.

Later I tried again, took the mare out with a halter and leadrope into the pasture where the filly and gelding were. If the filly got withing 6 feet of the mare she would lay her ears back. Twice the demure little filly tried to take a step forward and say hi and the filly lounged at her. Fortunatly I had the mare in a halter and stopped her in her tracks.

I've read dozens of articles about introducing a horse to a new herd over fences and such, and perhaps I may have rushed it. It just seems though this mare is far more interested in killing this filly than getting to know her. Clearly I cannot atempt another pasture introduction anytime soon as this filly could get seriously injured. I'm considering moving the round pen to the pasture and putting the mare in it during the day and hopefully the situation will improve, but I'm fearful it will not.

Any suggestions? I also find it odd that a female horse would be so agressive to a weanling filly.
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 07:06 PM
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She doesn't want to kill her. She is just trying to put her in her place at the bottom of the herd. The trick is to let her. She won't actually hurt the filly, and unless you let them work out their new heirachy as a three horse herd, you will be forever separating them.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Chiilaa View Post
She doesn't want to kill her. She is just trying to put her in her place at the bottom of the herd. The trick is to let her. She won't actually hurt the filly, and unless you let them work out their new heirachy as a three horse herd, you will be forever separating them.
You may be right, but even my vet has warned that the filly could be injured. She almost fell when the angry mare was chasing her. And the filly is so submissive, I just don't know why this mare doesn't see that. She is being brutal - actually heaving herself at the stall wall that separates her from the filly so she can get in and attack her. The gelding senses the submissiveness of this filly, I wish this mare could too.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-07-2012, 09:36 PM
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Are you able to put the filly in a pasture next to the herd? So they can get to know each other over the fence for a little while? I rarely put a new horse straight into a herd. They do have to work things out eventually but I prefer a slower approach.

Good luck and congrats on your new filly!
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-08-2012, 12:37 AM
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I recently introduced a young gelding to a herd of three horses. The herd consists of another gelding, a mare and her filly.

It was nine months until he joined them. I had to tame him and have him gelded.

The mare is the matriarch and the colt is a BLM mustang and understands her language. He will mouth at her showing that he is being submissive. She will show her teeth and chase him but has not bit or kicked him.

The filly will kick at him and when he does not react she gives up. The mare will chase, kick and bite her own filly more often.

The other gelding can care less as long as they do not include him in any of the conflicts, he just wants to eat the grass. They all KNOW is is the quiet boss. The mare knows not to get in his space. She does not even try.

BTW before I turned the colt out in the pasture the mare charged his pen all the time. Her ears pinned flat, wide open mouth and a look that said I am going to eat you! Make sure your filly can not get trapped by the mare. If the filly can run and escape it should work out. The more room they have to run the better. When I tried to keep them in a small enclosure the mare did hurt her filly, 100'x 200' pen was not big enough for 2. I moved them to a 3 acre pasture. I made sure there is no place for any horse to get trapped by another horse.

Best luck with your herd and I hope it works out.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-09-2012, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that story! I think it will work out, I just haven't give the mare enough time apparently. Yesterday I put her in a found pen next to the pasture for several hours, and then took her out to the pasture with a halter and lead rope. She and the filly sniffed noses and the mare didn't even lay her ears back...which is a huge improvement from the day before when she lunged at the filly. I'll give it some more time and see how she is stalled next to the filly and so forth before I try it again. I realize there will be some ruckus, it just needs to be less crazy than it was that first day.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-09-2012, 08:24 AM
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It just takes time. Some horses take longer than others.

Back in September, we introduced a gelding to our herd of 6. He's finally getting accepted into the herd but our youngest mare still pins her ears at him and chases him off.

Yesterday, we introduced two more, a mare and gelding. This time our youngest mare was very social and accepting of them. She actually was hanging out with them.

There will be scuffles, nicks, cuts, and scrapes. My wife is a little over cautious when a horse gets injured. She likes to spray an antibiotic, which is purple, on the wounds. The gelding that we introduced in Sept. had purple spots all over him. Now he's doing fine and no spots anymore. BTW he's a white horse, lol. He's actually starting to stand up for himself.

Make sure, as posted previously, that they have plenty of room where the filly can escape the mare and not be trapped.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-12-2012, 08:34 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I'm even more confused. The mare seems less hostile to the filly now, after only talking over a fence for several days. The guy that helps out around the barn decided to see how the mare would treat the filly and turned her out with the filly and the gelding. Now the gelding started charging the filly and it was again a frantic, hysterical run around their small pasture (2 or 3 acres). Apparently the mare was runnign with them but not activing agressive. I guess it's a tag team. I hate to sound like a worry wart, but I'd like to avoid them running the filly into the ground and giving her splints or worse. I have some great big hay fields I could let them out in, but the fences aren't as good and they don't live out there. It's about 30 acres though. I just can't believe this is so hard!
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-13-2012, 03:30 PM
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They will not run her into a fence or the ground. Nor will they actually hurt her. We only have two acres split into to paddocks for our current 7 horses. My grandmother just introduced my cousins yearling to the big bully Tucker, and while they don't bully him he is definitely low man on the totem pole. They ran the colt around for a few days but everything settled down very nicely. I think you should just bite the bullet and leave the filly out with the others. We have never(knock on wood) had any introductions cause any major injuries.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-13-2012, 04:07 PM
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Careful. While many times it's just rough for a bit, over the years I've seen many horses run into a fence, cornered and hurt badly. I always monitor when I turn a new horse out and my herd knows to respect my wishes, however, I watch what is likely and chose appropriately whether to leave the horse out there while I'm not there and how long to give them before they work out their agreement.
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